Bruce Murray (1931-2013)

Bruce Murray

Bruce Murray

Planetary Society co-founder, Dr. Bruce Murray died from the progressive effects of Alzheimer’s Disease on August 29. He was 81.

Murray was formerly Director of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, guiding JPL during the Viking landings on Mars, through Voyager’s encounters at Jupiter and Saturn, to the start of Galileo to Jupiter and Magellan to Venus.

Together with Carl Sagan, he created an organization designed to demonstrate to politicians that backing planetary exploration would bring them voter support. Murray and Sagan directed the Society together for 16 years, and after Sagan’s death, and Murray took over as president for another 5 years.

See the Society website for the obituary by Charlene Anderson and Executive Director Emeritus Louis Friedman.

[Thanks to John King Tarpinian for the story.]

6 thoughts on “Bruce Murray (1931-2013)

  1. Louis D. Friedman, co-author of the Planetary Society’s official Murray obit which refers to JPL in Pasadena, knows that too since he worked there for 10 years. Many people refer to JPL being in Pasadena for the same reason others talk about something being in “Hollywood” or Los Angeles, because that approximates reality and people have already heard of it.

    With luck, in 50 years we’ll be referring to “JPL on Earth” to simplify things for the colonists on Mars.

  2. Home of the Rose Parade? Rose Bowl game? CalTech? Big Bang Theory? The hospital where my daughter was born? I’m thinking — yes.

    But here’s the topper. NASA’s JPL website — — lists the address of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory as 4800 Oak Grove Drive, Pasadena, California 91109. And since NASA is an agency of the Federal govenment, on the basis of the court decision in Miracle on 34th Street it must be considered authoritative on the subject.

    Even if the address is inside the city limits of La Canada-Flintridge.

  3. To quote the always relevant George Carlin, even though he’s deceased himself,




    I knew one of his sons, and took a message from him for his son once. I took the opportunity to thank him for all the great work he’d done in science and planetary research.

    My mother had Alzheimer’s. Her mother had Alzheimer’s. I don’t know if I have the inherited gene for it or not, and it worries me as I age (I turned 58 last Monday, August 26th.)

    At least my physician says he sees no evidence of it in me at this time.

    Dr. Murray was a great man who did great work advancing the wavefront of human knowledge. That he lost his intellect is a tragedy of modern times.

    He is deserving of a permanent memorial of some kind.

  4. People of a Certain Age will have heard of Pasadena, even if they didn’t know it was in California, because of “The Little Old Lady From Pasadena”, recorded by Jan and Dean in 1964, and later that year by The Beach Boys. (Go, Granny, Go, Granny, Go, Granny, Go!).

Comments are closed.